For reference, the “7 Deadly Sins” are:
Sin is defined as an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law, whether that means organized religion or universal lessons for our souls. These 7 issues of life that we called “sins,” in my opinion, are not inherently connected to a religion. A group of individuals may use them in their religion or group belief, but that is their reality, not necessarily mine or yours.
Here’s the thing: the “7 Deadly Sins” have always been positioned as all the things you shouldn’t do, but strangely enough, find yourself constantly in the middle of.
Why is that so? From a spiritual perspective, how do we really come closer to Spirit by shaming ourselves and each other for perfectly normal human emotions and motivations? How do we reconcile these experiences with our divinity?
Certainly not with avoidance. “That which you resist will persist” is definitely the rule here. So, as with many unpleasant emotions or experiences, I think you really have to go through it to get over it. And how do you do that?
I propose that a healthy way of dealing with these so-called “seven deadly sins” is to use them as messages that each tell you something valuable about yourself and your relationship to Spirit. Additionally, consider each of them as a shadow that has a corresponding light side.
I am not some kind of expert on the Seven Deadly Sins, but I feel that in my lifetime, I have gained some insight into how useful they can be when we see them through the lens of Spirit.
Let’s dive in.
PRIDE in and of itself does not have a negative connotation. The “sinful” aspect of pride could be better described using the words arrogance, hubris, or haughtiness.
Any time you see someone famous declare how special they are–whether it’s for their beauty, intelligence, athletic prowess, etc., there follows a chorus of “Tsk, tsk, pride goeth before a fall.” And sometimes it does.
And yes, humility has its place. If you want to connect with people and have more meaningful interactions, setting ego aside will help you cultivate a heart-centered energy that attracts more people to you.
But for someone who struggles with self-confidence, pride is an appropriate prescription. I wonder how many people are afraid to celebrate an accomplishment of theirs for fear of being labeled “prideful” by their family or community. Celebrating your accomplishments gives you the confidence to take more risks and put yourself “out there” more.
ENVY, or its more negative feeling word jealousy, is that feeling you get when someone else has, does or seems to be more than you are. It is a feeling devoid of sympathetic joy–it may even be tinged with the tiniest hope that the other person will someone fail or lose whatever success you observe them to have.
Through a type of spiritual alchemy, I believe it is possible to transform this feeling to its light side–inspiration. How can you cultivate within yourself the success you envy in this other person? How can you make your success a reflection of your own unique self?
Whenever I have felt envy, I have used it as an opportunity to bring to the surface whatever I was neglecting to grow within myself. It takes a choice to do that, but it’s a choice that will put you in a much lighter place, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
GLUTTONY is a great distractor. When you are filling up on excessive food and drink, you are avoiding feeling something. Gluttony is a clear message that you have an emotional issue that needs addressing.
The irony of gluttony is that the more you fill up, the emptier you are.
If you are experiencing some form of “gluttony,” use the next craving as an opportunity to stop, take a breath, and ask yourself what you really need. You may be surprised what comes up for you (and it likely has nothing to do with food).
LUST is one of the most misunderstood words in this famous list of don’ts. Sexuality in its many forms and manifestations is a natural movement of personal and universal energy. It is the force of creation itself.
I believe that lust, however, refers to sexual objectification and all actions stemming from it.
Similar to gluttony, lust is an appetite and leaves one more empty than fulfilled. I believe that going into your heart space in meditation may give you some insight into why it is showing up in your life. Like any emotion, it has a message for you.
ANGER can literally be deadly, there is no doubt. But we all feel it during our lives. And many of us repress it to the point that we experience depression and don’t even know that anger is underneath the gloom, running the show. Whether anger becomes “deadly” or not really depends on how we allow it to move through us. When we feel anger, it is definitely a message that we have, in some way, embraced ourselves as victims of some circumstance. But beyond being a messenger, anger can also be a tool.
We can use our anger to fuel positive action to get out of whatever situation that caused our anger in the first place. We can channel anger and transform it into a number of physical activities such as sports or martial arts. We can use our anger to lead movements to affect positive change in the world.
The one thing we don’t want to do with anger is NOT allow it to move. If anger is trapped within us, it can permeate our bodies and minds with disease. Or it could explode in an action that we might regret.
GREED simply reflects a lack of alignment with our spiritual selves. “Seek first the kingdom of God and all the rest shall be added unto you.” While this is a (paraphrased) scripture from the Christian Bible, it can also be unpacked in a more “spiritual” way. Greedy people are greedy because they perceive lack. They have no awareness that the Universe gives infinite abundance. They put more value in what they can physically put their hands on without regard to other people. And greed is not an exclusive quality of the rich. Anyone can be greedy. The common denominator of greedy people is that they believe in shortage and lack. Greed stems from a poverty mentality–that there is only so much wealth to go around.
The antidote to greed is an alignment with your spiritual self through your heart (as opposed to your head, where your ego rules). When you drop into your heart space, you know on a deep level that you can create whatever you need–and not at the expense of others. You know that you do not have to hoard supplies, money, resources, because you are an infinite being with infinite resources to generate your wealth.
SLOTH is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work. Behind avoidance is always a fear. When you are avoiding some type of work, what is it that you fear in this situation? Moreover, what shift do you need to make, either mentally (changing your mindset) or physically (taking action) to dislodge the energy that is keeping you in a “stuck” feeling?
Sometimes just making a decision can get things moving. If you are feeling “slothful” in your life, what decisions are you not making? Is there a difficult conversation you need to have? Is there some aspect of your life that you need to release? Are you being too hard on yourself and are afraid of failure? These forms of stuck energy can really keep you in a state of “analysis paralysis.”
You don’t need to make any huge changes to transform sloth into movement. Start small. Make a phone call. Spend 20 minutes in the sunshine to elevate your mood. Then go from there.
Do all of these sins feel “deadly” now? Hopefully you have begun to see them in a more spiritual light. They are just energy. Messages. And potentially, opportunities for spiritual growth.